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The Intercolonial Railway was a rail line connecting the Maritime colonies and the Province of Canada. Construction of the railway was discussed as early as the 1840s, and sections of the line were opened in 1858 and 1860. However, it took several more years for solid agreements to be reached on the construction and financing of the line as a whole.
In 1862 a conference chaired by Thomas D'Arcy McGee was held in Quebec to discuss the project. A financing agreement was reached, whereby Canada and the Maritimes would split the costs of construction, while Britain would guarantee the interest on the ensuing debt. Unfortunately, the deal fell through before the end of the year. (The collapse of these negotiations may indirectly have led to the Charlottetown Conference -- the conference was originally planned to discuss Maritime union, seen by many area politicians as a means of gaining bargaining power for such things as the Intercolonial.)
Despite the myriad difficulties encountered in financing and building the railway, it was always seen as a prerequisite to closer political ties between the British colonies in North America. Its completion was an important topic of discussion during the union conferences of 1864. Near the end of the Quebec Conference, a deal was finally reached to build the Intercolonial. Construction began shortly after Confederation in 1867. The Intercolonial railway was taken over by Canadian National Railways in 1919.
Burns, Robin G. -- "McGee, Thomas D'Arcy" -- Dictionary of Canadian biography. -- Ed. Francess G. Halpenny. -- Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1976. -- Vol. 9, p. 489-494.
Creighton, Donald. -- The road to Confederation : the emergence of Canada, 1863-1867. -- Toronto : Macmillan Co., 1964.
Marsh, James. -- "Intercolonial Railway" -- Canadian encyclopedia : year 2000 edition. -- Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1999. -- P. 1174.